Language Changes Associated With Fast ForWord-Language Evidence From Case Studies Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   August 01, 2001
Language Changes Associated With Fast ForWord-Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Diane Frome Loeb, PhD
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Christene Stoke
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Marc E. Fey
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Contact author: Diane Frome Loeb, PhD, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences & Disorders, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045-2181. E-mail: dianelo@ku.edu
Article Information
Clinical Forum: Fast ForWord
Clinical Forum   |   August 01, 2001
Language Changes Associated With Fast ForWord-Language
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2001, Vol. 10, 216-230. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2001/020)
History: Received April 18, 2000 , Accepted June 29, 2001
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2001, Vol. 10, 216-230. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2001/020)
History: Received April 18, 2000; Accepted June 29, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

Based principally on reports of two experimental investigations, the Scientific Learning Corporation claims that Fast ForWord-Language (FFW-L) yields 1-1/2 to 3 years language gain over a 6-week period. We evaluated various aspects of this claim by measuring the language changes of four children who received FFW-L language intervention in their homes. Language change was assessed immediately following intervention and 3 months later, using standardized language measures, spontaneous measures of syntactic complexity, reading measures, pragmatic measures, and parent and teacher reports. Three of the four children successfully completed FFW-L, and all made gains on some of the same standardized measures used by P. Tallal et al. (1996), although the improvements we observed were generally smaller than those previously reported. All children also made gains on measures of pragmatic performance. However, very few changes were observed in the children's Developmental Sentence Scores (DSSs), indicating that gains in productive use of grammar changed only marginally. One child showed evidence of gains in standard assessment of his phonological awareness skills. According to questionnaire data, parents and teachers did not report many differences in performance after intervention; however, parental satisfaction with the program was generally high. Sixty-one percent of the gains observed at posttesting were maintained 3 months following intervention; however, a number also were not maintained. Of the total 595 items assessed at pretest and posttest, significant positive change occurred on 58 or 10% of the items. Our findings suggest that, although FFW-L delivered at home by parents may lead to some important changes in children's performance on structured tasks, broad, dramatic gains in spontaneous language use are less likely and may not be long-lasting. Future experimental investigations should include measures of pragmatic performance to substantiate the preliminary findings of these case studies.

Author's Note
This work was supported in part by the University of Kansas General Research allocation #3539 and a research grant funded by the International Dyslexia Association awarded to the senior author. The authors offer their sincere gratitude to the families and the children who participated in this study. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the following individuals with data collection and analysis: Jayne Brandel, Jill Story, Dabney Whatley, Jennifer Ford, and Shelly Bredin-Oja. Portions of this paper were presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention in 1998.
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